From his speed and showmanship on the big screen to his deep thinking and personal teachings, Bruce Lee has popularized eastern martial arts in the modern world and revolutionized the martial arts world in his short 32 year life. He broke box office records in Hong Kong twice consecutively with his first two films, The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972), and cofounded his own film company, Concord Productions. He has influenced modern martial arts with his ideology of Jeet Kune Do, translated as Way of the Intercepting Fist, and has taught famous martial artists such as Chuck Norris and Dan Inosanto and has influenced others such as Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
On November 27, 1940, in both the hour and year of the Dragon, Jun Fan (Bruce) Lee was born in San Francisco to a traveling Hong Kong Opera singer and his half-Chinese half-German wife. Moving back to Hong Kong at 3 months old, Lee grew up a child actor and would later excel in dance, winning a cha-cha competition at the age of 18. His formal martial arts background would not start until his teenager years under the tutelage of Sifu (Master) Yip Man, a master of Wing Chun Gung Fu and made famous by the recent Ip Man movies. Lee was known as a delinquent, often getting into street fights, and would later be sent to San Francisco then Seattle in 1959 to live with family friends and finish high school. Living a dual life as an American and Chinese, Lee was constantly discriminated against in American culture through his daily life and his roles in Hollywood and also in Chinese culture by being only three quarters Chinese and teaching Gung Fu to non-Chinese students. From this discrimination, his passion for martial arts, and his background in Philosophy from University of Washington, Lee developed not a new martial art but a new system or ideology towards martial arts known as Jeet Kune Do. This ideology focused on simplicity and internalizing what is useful and discarding what is not. He took ideas and forms from different philosophies and different martial arts to create a fluid art that did not discriminate at all by race, gender, ethnicity, or religion.
Bruce Lee's creativity and success was driven by his past and his thirst for knowledge. He constantly delved into different martial art styles and schools of thought to find and create his own way of life. Similar Collins and Amabile's article "Motivation and Creativity," Lee had an intrinsic motivation to go into Hollywood and change the stereotype of the weak Asian and to create a martial arts system for all.